A teaching, strongly supported in the East, held that Christ had
no human will. Twice emperors had officially favored this position, Heraclius by publishing a
formula of faith and Constans II by silencing the issue of one or two wills in Christ.
Shortly after assuming the office of the papacy (which he did
without first being confirmed by the emperor), Martin held a council at the Lateran in which the
imperial documents were censured, and in which the patriarch of Constantinople and two of his
predecessors were condemned. Constans II, in response, tried first to turn bishops and people
against the pope.
Failing in this and in an attempt to kill the
pope, the emperor sent troops to Rome to seize Martin and to bring him back to Constantinople.
Martin, already in poor health, offered no resistance, returned with the exarch Calliopas and was
then submitted to various imprisonments, tortures and hardships. Although condemned to death and
with some of the torture imposed already carried out, Martin was saved from execution by the pleas
of a repentant Paul, patriarch of Constantinople, who was himself gravely ill.
Martin died shortly thereafter, tortures and cruel treatment having taken their toll. He is the last of the early popes to be venerated as a martyr.
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